NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a phot with Adrian Clayborn, #20 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Over the last 2 years we're all aware of what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have invested in their defensive line. In 2010 first and second round picks were spent on defensive linemen Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. Now in 2011 we have once again heavily invested in the defensive line at the end spots. First rounder Adrian Clayborn and second rounder Da'Quan Bowers complete a quartet of picks that figure to shape the face of the Bucs defense for the next 5 or more years.
The thing is, it's easy to forget that the Buccaneers have this much invested in the defensive line because of all the question marks that surround it. Brian Price is somewhat of an unknown quantity because of his injury issues, Clayborn's production at Iowa dropped off conspicuously in his senior season, and Bower's knee issues have been documented to the point of exhaustion. There are more than a few doubters out there who think that the Buccaneers pass rush will struggle as much as it ever did however lets suspend reality for a second and consider the opposite. What if each one of these picks work out as planned by our master architect GM Mark Dominik? What if we have a front four that rivals that of some of the great defensive lines?
If all these guys work out, all of a sudden our defense looks pretty formidable. With less time to sit in the pocket our secondary would improve by simply not having to stay with receivers as long. Our linebackers would be freed up to roam, penetrate, and otherwise make plays that they aren't able to make right now. A great defensive line can cover a lot of deficiencies on a defense.
Though it doesn't happen quite so much anymore, throughout the history of the NFL when a team is really special on offense or defense they often earn a nickname. There's the Steel Curtain, the Orange Crush, the Monsters of the Midway, the Greatest Show on Turf, and more recently the Williams Wall. When other teams played against them they were already at a psychological disadvantage because their opponent was already larger than life. Games were won and lost long before they were ever played simply because players thought to themselves how are we going to score on the Steel Curtain? How will we stop the Greatest Show on Turf??? Having been a Buccaneer fan for a long time and having seen our team play at the highest level and win a Superbowl I feel slightly irked that our team never got a nickname. We were dominant for the better part of a decade. We were constantly in the top 10 in the league. Yet the only nickname we had was "Tampa 2"? Well I say no more!
Perhaps this is premature but I say we start thinking now so that when our defense becomes the dominant group it can be we'll have a moniker all picked out and ready to go. So Bucs Nation what should we name our defense? The Buc Bashers? The Tampa Terrors? The Bay Area Berserkers? The Pirates of Pain? The Captains of Crush? Let your creativity shine here guys! What can you come up with?